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A spotless home can really make your property stand out in a sea of rentals. However, going overboard with cleaning and sanitizing your space can also make it feel cold and unwelcoming. The key is finding the right balance between clean and sterile.
For starters, you"ll want to do a deep clean before listing your property. Scrub those grout lines, dust the baseboards, wash the windows - get into all those nooks and crannies. This prevents guests from being greeted by dirt, grime, or unsightly messes.
However, don"t go so far as to strip away all personality and comfort from your home. For example, while you may want to temporarily store away clutter and personal memorabilia, leaving some decorative touches can make a space feel warm and lived-in. Similarly, supplies like toilet paper, tissues, and paper towels can signal that basic needs are provided for.
Over-sanitizing can also create an uncomfortable vibe. Coronavirus has made cleanliness top of mind, but dousing everything in harsh chemicals leaves an aggressive, hospital-like smell. Using natural cleaning products helps provide a clean yet comforting scent.
The same goes for meticulously sealing up all food, toiletries, and other household items. While you don"t want guests digging through your pantry, placing a few complimentary snacks or travel-sized toiletries can make them feel welcomed.
When prepping your home, try to view it from a guest"s perspective. Does it feel clean, tidy and functional? Or does it veer too far into sterile territory? The experiences of other hosts provide useful insight here.
For example, one host was diligent about scrubbing every surface and tucking away any clutter. But guests complained the home felt "devoid of personality." So she incorporated subtle decorative accents and added a welcome basket with treats and necessities. Reviews improved immediately.
Similarly, a superhost obsessed with eradicating germs and smells went overboard with harsh chemicals. Guests said it aggravated allergies. She tweaked her approach to use green cleaners and open windows to freshen rooms naturally. Complaints ceased.
When listing your property online, eye-catching photos are key to garnering interest from potential guests. However, there's no need to insert yourself into the frame to create compelling images. Photography that highlights the space itself, rather than the owner, can make rentals stand out while maintaining privacy.
For hosts who rent out a room or share common areas, avoiding overly personal photos helps set appropriate expectations. Guests want to view the actual rental, not snapshots unrelated to their stay. They may find selfies and family portraits irrelevant at best or off-putting at worst. Leaving yourself out keeps the focus on what matters most - the features and amenities being offered.
Full-property hosts also shouldn't feel pressure to appear in listings. First, vacationers likely don't care what you look like. They simply want to preview the home. Second, constant presence in every photo can seem needy or desperate for attention. High-quality interior and exterior shots speak for themselves.
The good news is that properties can shine without hosts hogging the frame. One successful host stopped forcing herself into the edges of every photo. She stepped back and re-shot each room to showcase layouts and furnishings. Bookings increased as the new photos allowed the charming cottage to take center stage.
Another host initially included mostly selfies because she thought her big smile would attract guests. But the oddly angled, haphazard snapshots received complaints. An experienced photographer then captured crisp, evenly-lit images emphasizing the inviting backyard and cozy living room. The professional photos got rave reviews.
A few tips can further improve photos without hosts: use natural lighting, declutter to highlight best features, shoot from multiple flattering angles, and edit color, contrast and brightness for visual appeal. Drones and wide-angle lenses also provide dynamic aerial shots and panoramas unattainable from standing inside a room.
A thoughtful welcome note can provide guests with useful information while also setting a warm tone for their stay. However, crafting an overly long letter can have the unintended effect of overwhelming visitors. The key is to be clear, concise and personable.
Hosts should cover essential details like wifi passwords, parking instructions, check-in/out policies and local recommendations. However, resist the temptation to include your life story. A multi-page manifesto recapping your motivations for hosting or childhood memories made in the home may come across as self-indulgent.
Similarly, an exhaustive list of house rules can imply distrust before guests have even arrived. Better to focus on truly critical guidelines around matters like smoking and pets. The rest can be covered through friendly in-person interactions.
When it comes to length, shorter is usually sweeter. Aim for just 1-2 succinct paragraphs. If necessary information won't fit, consider sectioning out key details like wifi codes into a separate document.
The experiences of veteran hosts provide useful perspective here. One well-intentioned host wrote a sprawling five page letter touching on every facet of her property and personal history. Guests reported feeling micromanaged by the litany of directives. She pared it down to a one-pager with just the basics - and found visitors felt welcomed, not controlled.
Another host was wary after previous damage to her home. Her lengthy welcome letter outlined an exhaustive set of restrictions to prevent further issues. However, the stern tone offended guests, generating complaints. She revised to a friendlier note that appealed to visitors" sensibilities, while still communicating critical rules. Satisfaction improved.
A positive tone also matters more than length. A short welcome conveying excitement about hosting can be more appealing than a lengthy but coldly corporate missive. Share about favorite local attractions, restaurants and features of the home, but avoid sounding like a travel brochure regurgitating stale cliches.
While personal notes require more effort than generic form letters, they help guests connect with hosts as individuals. If you can"t muster more than a few rushed sentences, it may be worth skipping the letter completely rather than dashing off something perfunctory.
While renting out your home or spare room, you'll want guests to feel comfortable and have their basic needs met. However, inundating them with all your personal possessions creates clutter and oversteps boundaries. The key is supplying the essentials without surrounding visitors with your life story.
When preparing a rental, take stock of which items are truly needed for short stays versus just your own clutter. For example, dishes, cookware, towels and bedding should be provided for guests to use. However, your souvenir shot glasses collection can likely stay packed away.
Aim to outfit the space with generic, matching items rather than a hodgepodge of your old stuff. Mismatched plates or sheets with stains suggest hosts haven't invested in quality supplies for company. A set of simple, neutral dishes and soft, fresh linens make a better impression.
Only leave out toiletries and non-perishable foods you're comfortable having guests use up. Don't decant your favorite artisanal olive oil or specialty bath products for communal use. Provide mainstream brands you can easily restock as needed.
When it comes to dÃ©cor, avoid overly personal touches that encroach on visitors" experience. For example, family photos and collectibles around every surface insert your history into a setting where others are trying to relax and make their own memories.
If you must include some personalized elements, choose subdued accents like generic landscape artwork rather than items demanding attention like large portrait canvases. Cutesy crafts and piles of nostalgic keepsakes also risk cluttering up the space.
Books, magazines and guides catering specifically to guests can make nice touches without sharing too much of your own life. For example, leave cookbooks in the kitchen, travel guides about the area, and some current magazines or novels for leisure reading.
Experienced hosts warn against assuming everyone shares your interests. One host left out his vintage comic book collection as dÃ©cor, incorrectly assuming literary guests would appreciate them. Most were indifferent or found the childish books distracting clutter.
Another host cooked dinner for her first tenants, eager to share her love of cooking. However, the guests felt awkward about being served such an intimate, personal meal from a stranger. They just wanted basic supplies to make their own food.
When in doubt, get input from objective friends or even run your space by past guests. Ask what additions would make stays more comfortable without crossing into invasive territory. You may be blind to clutter that outsiders immediately notice.
When listing and marketing your rental property, it"s tempting to try appealing to the widest possible audience. However, attempting to attract every potential guest often backfires. Instead, tailoring your space and messaging to resonate with a specific target demographic can increase interest from ideal tenants.
The first step is identifying the type of traveler most likely to appreciate your rental's location, layout, amenities and atmosphere. For example, a historic carriage house may resonate with couples seeking romance, while families may prefer a beachfront condo with child-friendly features. Leaning into what makes your property uniquely suited to certain groups allows you to craft an authentic, compelling listing.
When describing your space, emphasize details that align with the interests of your target guests. For a family-friendly home, highlight fun recreational options, safety features, and proximity to kid attractions. For a cozy cabin, mention the rustic charm, scenic views, and opportunities for a relaxing reprieve. Avoid generic descriptions like "comfortable" and "well-located" that appeal broadly but fail to excite specific audiences.
The experiences of veteran hosts also illustrate the power of intentional targeting. One Airbnb owner initially marketed her modern high-rise apartment as perfect for anyone visiting the city. But after noticing most bookings came from business travelers, she adjusted the listing to tout the convenient location for commuting and conducting meetings. Catering directly to corporate clientele increased occupancy.
Another host renting out a luxurious beachside villa originally advertised it as an opulent celebrity-style getaway for wealthy travelers accustomed to extravagance. But he attracted few elite guests and instead received inquiries from loud, rambunctious groups who trashed the property. He reframed promotions to focus on couples seeking a refined, romantic escape. The new messaging brought in more mature, considerate tenants.
A key caveat when targeting certain demographics is avoiding discriminatory language. Descriptions should focus on the property"s merits and characteristics. Making biased assumptions about who will or won"t appreciate your rental based on protected characteristics is unethical and dangerous. Emphasize why the space itself suits particular guests" needs and preferences.
While establishing guidelines for your rental property helps ensure responsible guest behavior, an overly rigid or commanding tone can make visitors feel untrusted and offended. The key is framing house rules in a way that protects your space while still making guests feel welcomed and respected.
Hosts should remember that most renters are conscientious adults, not unruly teenagers at a house party. Leading with trust rather than suspicion sets a positive tone that encourages cooperative behavior. Communicate essential rules clearly and firmly, but avoid sounding authoritarian or draconian.
For instance, rather than taking a rigid "my way or the highway" approach, frame policies in an informative manner. Explain reasons for rules, like noting that quiet hours after 10pm avoid noise complaints from neighbors. Recommending good practices also comes across better than barking orders. Ask guests to wipe down kitchen surfaces after cooking rather than mandating cleaning protocols.
Additionally, rules don't need to govern every minute detail. Over-legislating creates a controlling, restrictive environment. Focus on critical issues like smoking, pets, parking and checkout times. Micromanaging things like cooking, cleaning and noise may cross into unreasonable territory.
The experiences of other hosts demonstrate the benefits of a balanced approach. One owner grew frustrated by small messes left by past guests. She reacted by creating an extensive checklist of cleaning tasks for visitors to complete before departure. However, the exhausting list offended renters, who felt less like guests and more like housekeepers. She scaled back to basic cleaning requests, which most happily obliged.
Another host was scarred by a party thrown at her property while she was away. To prevent future issues, she banned all social gatherings and set a strict 10pm noise curfew. But families staying there felt uncomfortable letting their children watch a movie late at night and eventually stopped booking. She realized the rules were too rigid, so she relaxed the event ban and noise limits.
Meanwhile, a hands-off owner who provided almost no guidance ran into regular issues like smoking inside, unauthorized pets, and excessive noise. Annoyed neighbors pressured him to better screen and regulate guests. Implementing common-sense house rules remedied problems without going overboard.
When crafting your own guidelines, consider feedback from objective outsiders. Rules that seem perfectly reasonable to you may come across as persnickety and heavy-handed to others. Likewise, directions you find helpful may be viewed by guests as micromanaging. Getting unbiased input helps strike the right balance.
When renting out your home, prompt communication with potential and confirmed guests is essential. However, hosts should beware of obsessively responding immediately to every single message or question. Such neurotic urgency can alarm guests rather than reassuring them. The key is finding balance between ignoring inquiries and compulsively over-answering them.
Hosts should make it clear to renters that they monitor messages frequently and will respond within a reasonable window, such as 24 hours. Setting expectations upfront that you may not reply instantly prevents guests from assuming something is wrong if you don"t answer right away.
It"s also unnecessary to provide immediate confirmation of every minor message. If a guest says "Thanks, we"re excited to arrive Tuesday!" you need not instantly respond "You"re welcome, we"re excited too!" Responding to substantive questions and issues promptly is sufficient.
Furthermore, incessantly messaging guests with unsolicited check-ins and updates can feel smothering rather than helpful. Occasional quick confirmations that everything is still on track are fine. But bombarding visitors with a barrage of texts and calls can implying a lack of trust in them.
The experiences of veteran hosts are instructive here. One new Airbnb owner felt anxious about renters staying unattended in her home. She messaged them incessantly with nervous reminders about rules and triple-checked if they needed anything. Guests found the constant digital hovering bizarre and off-putting. She learned to give renters space and trust them as responsible adults.
Another host worried silence from guests meant something was very wrong. He would rapidly call and message the moment they didn"t instantly respond, even late at night or first thing in the morning. Exasperated guests eventually explained they didn"t feel the need to provide real-time confirmation of every mundane detail. The host realized he needed to relax and allow visitors some independence.
Meanwhile, a host who rarely answered messages or returned calls ran into problems. Renters would try contacting her about urgent matters like plumbing issues or early check-in requests, but her lack of timely response left them stranded and frustrated. Simply setting expectations upfront that sheaimed to respond within 12 hours would have avoided such issues.
As a host, you want to provide an excellent experience for your guests. This means being available and helpful when needed. However, constantly hovering nearby or inserting yourself into their stay can feel intrusive rather than hospitable. The key is finding ways to assist that don"t cross boundaries.
For example, checking in occasionally via text to ask if guests need anything is thoughtful. But physically knocking on their door multiple times a day or letting yourself in to "tidy up" comes across as invasive monitoring, even if well-intentioned. Give visitors space and let them reach out if they need you.
Hosts should also avoid awkwardly inserting themselves into activities. Offering recommendations if guests ask is one thing. But inviting yourself along on their planned outings or forcibly trying to socialize with them is uncomfortable.
Similarly, providing an abundance of supplies can be helpful. But going overboard leaves guests feeling overwhelmed by your presence. For instance, continually bringing by home-cooked meals and snacks may make some feel obligated to interact with you more than they wish.
Experienced hosts note the importance of reading social cues. One host loved cooking and would bring multiple three-course dinners to her guests unprompted. While she meant to be kind, many felt it was too much food and time spent together. She learned to just deliver a simple welcome meal unless guests expressed wanting more of her cooking.
Another host became upset when the young travelers renting his place excluded him from their plans. He had to understand that while he enjoyed socializing, not all guests want a built-in activities buddy. He adjusted to providing recommendations when asked but giving groups space.
Meanwhile, a hands-off owner provided maps and directions but refused to answer questions or address issues during stays, deeming it "intrusive." But overwhelmed visitors ended up lost, confused and frustrated. Offering some basic assistance makes the experience smoother.
When in doubt, ask guests directly how much interaction they prefer. Making yourself available without imposing requires understanding different needs. Some may want constant suggestions and companionship, while others require total privacy.
Neither ignoring guests nor forcing yourself on them works. The ideal is being open and helpful when approached, while also allowing visitors to guide the level of interaction. If you go overboard in your eagerness either way, gently ask how to make their stay most comfortable.